UPDATED: With BBC AMERICA premiering the original Women of Doctor Who special tonight (Saturday, August 11 at 9/8c), we decided to put the question “Who’s the Greatest Women of Doctor Who…ever?” up to a vote. More than 200,000 people cast their ballots in our week-long tournament, and fans whittled down a field of eight companions down to a final two: Rose Tyler vs. Sarah Jane Smith. And by a vote of 57 percent to 43 percent, the companion voted the Greatest Woman of Doctor Who is…
Yes, Rose Tyler (played by actress Billie Piper), companion to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors, was picked as the ultimate woman of Doctor Who by a decent margin. Anglophenia’s Fraser McAlpine explained the importance of Rose in his profile of her last year: “As much as Russell T Davies and the Ninth Doctor combined, Rose is the person who resurrected Doctor Who the show, because she represents the fans who loved it and wanted it to come back better. She not only healed the emotional wounds of the Doctor himself, she healed ours too, allowing the show to return in triumph, not limp out with all the same tired old gags, for a wheezy victory lap.”
Sarah Jane’s substantial showing demonstrated the fondness many fans still have for the iconic classic companion, who was brought back for several episodes in the modern series and was rewarded with her own successful spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures. (The actress who played Sarah Jane, the luminous Elisabeth Sladen, passed away in 2011.) Of Ms. Smith, Fraser wrote, “It’s safe to say that had Elisabeth Sladen lived, she’d still be appearing in Doctor Who episodes from now until one of their many Ends Of Time finally finishes things off for good. And that’s because Sarah Jane kept going too. Of all the Doctor’s companions, she’s the one who, rather than sitting back to reminisce over her time as a space traveler, would clearly continue in the same adventurous vein for as long as the Earth was imperiled.”
Interestingly, among British voters, Sarah Jane Smith defeated Rose 61 percent to 39 percent, while U.S. voters picked Rose 58 percent to 42 percent.
For an in-depth look (with clips) at all of the Doctor’s companions, check out our profiles. And download 13 great “Women of Doctor Who” episodes on iTunes.
Catch BBC AMERICA’s original The Women of Doctor Who special, Saturday, August 11 at 9/8c. Who did you vote for in the tournament? Tell us below: